Looking like a building re-incarnated by the This Old House TV show, the Gingerman in Dallas is located in a nondescript north neighborhood. Approaching the building, the first sign of activity is the small crowd on the front patio. The main room features hardwood floors below and a dark wood ceiling 10 feet overhead. A few small windows allow shafts of light to enter. Wooden tables and booths provide the main seating while bar stools allow patrons to remain closer to the taps. The shiny copper barback hosts an impressive 68 tap handles, with a stand-alone Guinness tap off to the side and a beer engine nearby. European beer signs hang on the walls in various nooks and crannies of the room. A hanging chalkboard displays menus of wines, sandwiches and "new arrivals." Logo'd glassware, beer bottles and steins line the walls on shelves at all levels. One silent TV at the bar gives college-age customers something to shout about. Two authentic British dartboards are crowded into a protected area with a small wall to prevent collateral damage. Beer coasters decorate the ceiling above the shooters. Numerous beer books by Michael Jackson are on sale from the bar. Mellow Rock & Roll tunes bathe the room. Wooden steps are prevalent, making wheelchair navigation somewhat problematic. Cigars are sold ($7-$9) and used - demonstrating that circulation is no substitute for ventilation. The backyard beer garden offers the best chance for breathable air. With the two outdoor areas, the ground floor and the upstairs all combined, the place seats 350.
The tap selection offers an impressive array of American micro, Belgian, German and British beers, many pushed by nitrogen. Most pints run $4 or $4.50, with eight-ounce glasses $2.25 and 60-ounce pitchers $14. Happy Hour runs Mondays through Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. and drops pint prices by 50¢ and pitcher costs by $1. The Wieckse Witte is a hazy straw color with a tangy effervescence and slightly tart, crisp wheat flavor. The Hoegaarden White is a hazy straw with a thick white head, effervescent mouthfeel, tangy wheat flavor with a slight orange zest character and nice dry finish. The Leffe Blonde is a clear amber with a white head and estery aromas. A nice big mouthfeel accompanies an even malt/hop flavor balance and a subtle but complex fruity quality. The Maredsous 8 is a dark amber with a big malty aroma and flavor. Full-bodied, with a hint of fermentation by-products, this brew is nice and complex, but served to cold to do such flavors justice. The De Konnick Cuvée is a deep amber with a white head, medium body, and nice malty flavor with subtle fruity undertones. Also on hand is La Trappe Quadrupple, cask-conditioned Saint Arnold Amber, Coors Light and Miller Lite. A snack plate includes olives, salami, smoked cheese, bread, and fruit, perfect for any beer style undergoing sampling.
Located in a big city, but without all the big city intensity, the Gingerman offers a great selection beers and an environment to enjoy what you find.
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri -